Beginners Wine Tips
The wonderful world of wine is a happy place of complex flavors and simple pleasures. There is definitely no shortage of choices. There are reds and white, sparkling and dessert wines and a whole bunch of flavored wines.
Understanding wine is a long process and some people can spend decades involved in the wine industry and still not have all the answers. There is so much to take in. First, you need to understand which grapes will make a particular type of wine, and then you also need to learn the best way to store and serve a particular wine. The list of “must dos” when it comes to wine is endless.
If you’ve just recently become interested in wine then you’ve probably already tried a few choice types. But understanding wine is a little more complex than simply sipping this remarkable brew. We’ll take you through 10 wine tips that will get you on the road from beginner to connoisseur.
1. Choose The Right Glass
Different types of wine should be served in a particular type of glassware. For example, a tall, thin glass, also known as a flute is usually used for champagne or sparkling wine. A small stemmed glass is mainly used to serve fortified or dessert wines. Then you have glasses with wider cups and rims for red and white wines.
If you find this a little confusing, don’t despair. You don’t need to understand every single type of wine glass and you certainly don’t need to go out and buy a set of glasses for every type of wine. It’s enough to have a set of medium-sized glasses with stems that are versatile enough for many different wines. These will always make the wine better because they allow for swirling which releases the individual bouquet of each wine. Besides, serving wine in stemmed glasses always looks and feels more elegant than a plain old glass.
You may also purchase a wine preservation system, decanter and glass set. When you decant wine, you should do so carefully and slowly so that any sediment stays in an original bottle. Decanting is also a great way to aerate your wine which will enhance the flavor. Of course, if you don’t like the idea of decanting wine, you can always use aerators.
2. Know How To Properly Handle Wine
There are certain ways to open bottled wine and indeed how to handle the bottle. If you’re not confident with opening a bottle of wine, invest in an electric wine opener. These are simple to use and will get the cork out in seconds. Once opened, limit the amount of time you handle the bottle. The heat from your hands will not be kind to the wine for extended periods. Keep the wine on the table or get yourself an ice bucket or a tabletop cooler to keep your wine at the right temperature.
3. Research Correct Serving Temperatures
As a general rule of thumb, red wines are usually served at room temperature, which white wines taste better when they’re chilled. However, some red wines actually taste pretty good even after being chilled. Many bottled wines have a temperature suggestion on the label but you can always do some online research or ask the people who work at your local liquor supplier. Often, you’ll see which wines need to be chilled at your local liquor supplier because these wines will be in the refrigerators. In fact, you can also invest in your own wine refrigerator and keep your wines at the perfect temperature all the time.
One thing you should avoid is putting opened bottles of wine in the fridge, then taking them out again and refrigerating them again. These drastic fluctuations will cause the wine to sour a lot faster. If you have an opened bottle of wine that has been in and out of the fridge, play it safe and keep it for cooking.
4. Go On A Wine Tour
Boutique vineyards tend to be located in clusters. This makes it quite convenient to spend a day exploring local wineries. Most of these wineries offer tastings. Some are free while others charge a small tasting fee. This is the perfect way to try different wines, and what’s more, local wines. The servers or sommeliers at these places are quite knowledgeable about the different types of wines and the best ways to taste them and inhale each unique bouquet.
One of the best aspects of wine tours is that many offer lunch as part of the wine tasting tour package. You’ll get to enjoy the perfect food and wine pairing and get a greater understanding of wine. These vineyards are usually set in rural areas so you can enjoy a little bit of luxury in a beautiful, natural setting. If you’re really lucky, you’ll discover your favorite type of wine so you’ll know what you want to buy in the future.
5. Keep Some Popular Wines On Hand
Once you start getting familiar with wine, you will want to keep some bottles on hand at all times in case unexpected guests drop in. You may also simply like to open a bottle after a hard day’s work and relax with a nice glass. Whatever your reason, you will want to have some wine on hand for any occasion, or even just to spoil yourself once in a while.
Try to keep a few bottles of popular types of wine so that you’re ready for anything. They don’t need to be very expensive and if you’re really strapped for cash, a box of wine is perfectly suitable. Some of the better wineries also package their wines in boxes these days so you’re not necessarily compromising cost for quality. If you can afford bottles, aim to have a couple of bottles each of red and white wine in your home.
6. Learn To Properly Store Wine
Unless you have a mansion with a wine cellar in your basement, storing your wine can be complicated. If you have several bottles of wine, but don’t really drink a lot, then you need to have some type of shelving that allows you to lay your bottles so that the bottom of the bottle is at a higher angle than the top of the bottle. Keeping bottles like this ensures the cork will not dry out and will keep the wine within in a drinkable condition.
Whenever possible, keep your wine in a cool dark place like a pantry or inside a kitchen cabinet. However, if you do store your bottles in the kitchen, keep them as far away from the oven as you can. Prolonged exposure to the heat from your oven will deteriorate the quality of the wine and possibly turn it into something that closely resembles vinegar.
If you have the resources, a proper wine refrigerator will keep your wine at the correct temperature all year round in a nice controlled environment. These wine coolers can be fitted in your kitchen or bar and will be perfect for proper wine storage.
7. Check Out The Wine Apps
We use our smartphones for so many of our daily functions so why not use them to get a beginner’s education in wine? There are literally hundreds of apps that can offer advice on which wines to select, how to store them, how much to pour and a host of other useful bits of information. You may also be able to order wine online for yourself or send it as a gift from someone special.
Get the most out of technology. You’ll have all the information you could possibly want as a novice wine lover eight in the palm of your hand.
8. Get Chummy With Your Local Liquor Store
If you have a regular liquor store you buy you booze from, use their expertise to your advantage. Ask them about the different types of wine they have on offer and ask if they’ve tried that particular wine. Not only will they be able to show you the top wines in the store, but you’ll also see the ones that are on special too.
The other reason to get friendly with the staff at your local liquor store is to get yourself invited to any promotional gigs. From time to time, liquor stores may be promoting new products, including wines. Sometimes these promotions are open to the public and other times they are invitation only. If you’re a regular customer and the staff all know your name, you are more likely to get an invitation where new wines will be presented for tasting and purchasing.
9. Join A Wine Club
Generally speaking, there are two times of wine clubs you can join to expand your knowledge and education in the wonderful world of wine. You can join a local wine club. These are often organized by local liquor shops. They entail a group of like-minded individuals who will meet periodically and discuss the various wines they have tried with information on each one. In fact, you will be discussing the best places to go for wine tastings, any new and exciting wines to try and any wine related exhibitions or festivals in your local area.
The other type of wine club is something along the lines of a “Wine of the Month” club. When you join this type of club you get a selection of wines monthly or quarterly. You will also get some reading material for all the wines you receive, the best new places to visit and, of course, the wine. You can then sit down in the privacy and comfort of your own home and enjoy the wines you have received.
The benefits of this mail order type of clung are that you get new brands and types of wines with every delivery. Some of these are limited editions and others are sent to members before they hit the stores. You’ll get to taste wines that you’d otherwise never think to buy which is great to kick start your introduction to wine.
10. Keep Tasting New Wines
When you’re a wine novice or beginner, you may stumble upon a wine you like and want to buy it all the time. While it is important to enjoy the wine you buy, sticking to the same type over and over again will not only get boring, you’ll be putting limitations on your wine education. Every time you go to your local liquor store, look at the whole selection of wines on offer and choose a different one each time. Sure, you’ll occasionally come across a wine you don’t really like, but you’ll also find many that you will like.
Another place to try great wines is at food and wine festivals. These are great because they often pair the wines you can sample with various cheeses and smoked meats. Many wineries come from far and wide to showcase their wines so you’ll have the chance to try different wines from different regions.
Don’t forget your family and friends. Everyone has different tastes and shopping habits so when you’re visiting family and friends, accept a glass of wine from them. You’ll possibly be tasting something new and you’ll be able to discuss the wine like a pro in great company.
One of the best ways to experience wine from a beginner’s standpoint is to share a bottle or two with good friends. You’ll get to compare notes on your favorite ones and the best way to enjoy them. After all, the art of enjoying wine is so much sweeter with good food and great company.
Use technology for a bit of an edge and take a close look at the wine tips for beginners to get you started on your journey of wine appreciation. Before you know it you’ll be a wine connoisseur and you’ll be able to share your knowledge with others who have also come to appreciate good wine.